Craig Kimbrel isn’t putting up the ridiculous numbers that he did last year but he remains one of the game’s most dominant closers. If the AL has a 9th inning lead then they would be wise to hand the ball to the flame-throwing right-hander.
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Kimbrel is second in the league in saves, converting 24 of 26 opportunities. His 2.16 ERA ranks fourth in the league among closers with 10+ saves this season. His 0.87 WHIP is third among that group. Kimbrel is fourth with a 13.23 K/9 among AL pitchers who has logged 20+ innings.
The AL has several closers worthy of locking down the save if the opportunity presents itself. The case for Kimbrel is strengthened by his history in non-save situations. He’s nearly untouchable with a save on the line, producing a 1.75 ERA and holding batters to a .069 average this year. When he’s been asked to pitch in non-save situations he owns a mortal 3.52 ERA and batters are hitting .267 against him.
Kimbrel needs that adrenaline rush of pitching with the game on the line. Put him in that situation and he’s as good as it gets.